Ashes and Kingdoms v1 2-2

TL notes: Woo~, introduction of a new character! So, this character talks with a stutter, which is why there are multiple commas in the sentence. So, no I did not accidentally hit the comma key; it was all intentional. Anyways, enjoy the chapter!

Volume 1, 2-2: The Girl

Quite satisfied, Fin lifted his face and then slowly took a stance with his sword.

Although there wasn’t a specific style for exterminating the Beasts, the soldiers in the barracks would practice an old style of fencing whenever they were alone and had time. He heard that such a “tradition” continued even before he joined the army corps.

Of course, Fin wasn’t given enough time to fully master the style, but he was able to get the basics by practicing by himself. He could connect various movements and stances fluidly.

His senses reached all the way to the tip of his sword, feeling even the slightest of movements. If he concentrated there, he could clear his mind of any unnecessary thoughts. The stillness of the night and moonlight seeped into his emptied mind like water.

At this rate, he could even imagine his body fusing to become one with the world.

He noticed something from the corner of his eye. Fin was in his ‘one-with-the-world’ trace so he didn’t notice it at first. But, after a short pause, he returned back to reality and turned around and looked surprised.

—A person.

Fin silently moved his shoulders and chest up and down as he put up a vigilant guard.

As usual, the night sky was cloudless and the moonlight illuminated the ground with a blue light. The shadows of the collapsed buildings were short and pale. Somewhere in this village on such a dream-like night, a whitish shadow of a person silently loitered without anyone realizing.

—No, it’s not a person.

Fin corrected his initial thought and frowned. It was impossible for a human to wander alone at night. And on top of that….it was a girl who didn’t look much different from those around Fin’s age.

The girl turned to face the cautious Fin and timidly drew closer. She barely made any sounds with her footsteps. The clothes she was wearing were white, fluffy and frilly, like someone peeled cirrus clouds from the sky and wrapped them around her. Her long hair was a mix of gold and silver, and like her dress, wavy.

“……Good, good evening.”

The girl gave a shy greeting and blinked as if she was surprised by her own voice. And she continued to hesitate.

“Um, sorry, I wasn’t trying to be a bother to you.”

There didn’t seem to be any spite or hostility. Fin lowered his sword for the meantime, but he didn’t drop his guard. There were plenty of stories of magical creatures disguising themselves as harmless people.

Magical creatures were different from the Followers of Darkness; they weren’t necessarily enemies or evil. There were times when they would work in exchange for food and other times, they would make travelers who pass them have a nightmarish experience. If he were to say so, they were creatures of twilight.

The girl tilted her head and stared at Fin with her amber, almost golden eyes. Fin reflexively hesitated at the innocence in her look. The girl panicked again at the boy’s response.

“Aa…ah, I’m sorry. Um….well….uh… I, I haven’t really talked to people before and…. That’s why….well….”

She was flustered but spoke in a quiet voice, making Fin wonder if she was worried about waking up the others who were sleeping. Did this girl know that his comrades were inside the barn? Fin wondered and took a quick peek behind him.

“Don’t worry.”

The girl said as if reading Fin’s mind.

“I, I just want to look at only you.”


Being told ‘only you’…

Fin’s face became a weird mix of being embarrassed and wondering why he was embarrassed. The girl became more and more flustered and blushed, recklessly flapping her arms.

“Aah, err…was my way of talking weird? Um, what should I say?….I don’t know though…. It’s just that, I wanted a closer look. Just that. But, am I a bother?”

Her awkwardness was charming, and Fin finally relaxed and smiled. When he did, the girl became relieved and her grin widened.

“Anyways, what’s your name?”

Fin asked in a soft voice, and the girl finally realized how she should act and put the tips of her fingers together.

“Ah! That’s right. That should be the first thing to say. I am Dialphalena.”


She probably thought that he couldn’t remember it and was struggling, trying to repeat it. She smiled sweetly and said.

“My family calls me Leena.”


Fin repeated it, dumbfounded, and stared at the girl.

“Dia”: a word that expressed the Almighty God Deia was sometimes used to name places such as the country of Diatius and the imperial capital of Diact but wasn’t used for people’s names. That would be too arrogant of a person.

If it was from any other god, besides Deia and Audia, then it wouldn’t be strange. The Earth Goddess Neena was particularly popular; her name appeared in Nellis’ name, Nanais, and even Winea. But Deia was….

(I guess she really isn’t human…..Is she a spirit?)

Although he was still confused, Fin gave his name in response to her expecting look.

“I’m Phineas. You can call me Fin.”

“Fin.” The moment she repeated his name, he was startled. He felt an invisible hand directly touched the center of his heart. It wasn’t a forceful invasion, but it felt like a light knocking; nevertheless, he winced since that place was usually out of reach but it was suddenly touched.

It seemed that his feelings were conveyed to her. “Oh!” Leena panicked again and apologized in a fluster.

“I’m sorry. I, I’m really bad at talking to people. Um, I won’t bother you anymore…, is it okay if I just watch?”

“I’m fine, just a little surprised. I don’t mind but… ‘watch’, what are you watching?”

Fin answered while perplexed so Leena was relieved and gave a wide grin.

“You. Because, you’re ver~y pretty.”


Because her words were so unexpected, Fin crouched down right away, drained of any strength. He couldn’t even afford to generate enough of it to endure this.

“Ah, huh? Um, aaah, this is troubling. I said something weird again, didn’t I? What should I do?”

He heard her anxious voice again coming from above his head. As Fin thought, “At this rate, I won’t be able to stand up again,” he looked up at Leena in relief.

“A word like ‘pretty’, is usually used for girls like you, you know.”


Suddenly, Leena stared in wonder and blushed. To Fin, he was simply stating an objective fact not a compliment, but it seemed that Leena once again has taken it to mean something else. She rapidly turned redder and redder, becoming hotter from her ears to her neck.

“Wait, uhhh…..Leena? I was talking merely about appearances; there’s no hidden meaning or anything.”

“App, appearance? Ah, you mean exterior. Re, really? Oh, I see. Of course, I can’t be seen by people. Ahah, that surprised me.”

“……I was also surprised.”

He didn’t think talking to something inhuman would be this tiring. Fin let out a sigh and somehow managed to stand up.

“You wanted to say that some part of me is pretty, right? It probably wasn’t my appearance.”

Concerning his own looks, Fin knew that no matter how much he would be complimented on them, the most he would get were words like “masculine”. He didn’t often look at mirrors, but compared to the general standard of beauty, his face was……how to say, a bit sharp and too rigid. It was to the extent where he had accepted Nellis calling him a “gravestone” and thought that he couldn’t change it.

In his life, there was only one other time he was called “pretty”; that was when the priestess Fianera peered into his eyes and commented that they were the same color as the sea near Nanais.

However, as Leena’s sense naturally differed from that of humans, she tilted her head and stared at Fin as she asked.

“I don’t really understand human’s standards, but I think that Fin’s exterior is also pretty. But….what I meant before was, Fin’s interior.”

She raised her hand and touched her index finger on Fin’s chest. It was the area near his heart. At the same time, Fin felt the same sensation of an invisible hand touching him.

“Humans, to us, their interiors are splendid; we can see the parts that come out. I can sense pretty people’s in particular from afar. That’s why I accidentally stumbled here to see it…..”

“Wait a sec. So, you’re saying that you can see people’s hearts?”

“Yes, the part that the person shows. If I want to look at a person’s true nature, then I have to enter inside. But, without going that far, I can understand pretty people.”

“Really…?” Fin made a strained laugh. “I’m not a person with that ‘pretty’ of a heart. Well, if you say that you want to look, then I don’t mind you looking at this kind of person until you’re satisfied.”

Saying that, he casually looked up at the sky.

“But, you should return while the moon’s still out. I don’t know where your home is…….but if the moon sets and there’s only starlight left, I don’t think I can protect you from the Beasts of Darkness. And they‘ll definitely come.”

Although he didn’t know if the Beasts of Darkness attacked spirits, the spirits did take part alongside the humans in the Great War, so the Beasts must have hated them. There was no doubt that this unsteady girl would be torn apart too quickly by them.

However, it didn’t seem like Leena had the same worries as Fin. She wasn’t scared at all and with her head tilted, she asked.

“Are you…fighting the Followers of Darkness?”

“If I could avoid fighting, I would. But it’s them that hate humans. Since the Empire is all shaky now, the army corps can’t function properly and can no longer hold back the Beasts of Darkness as before. That’s why you can be assaulted anywhere at night.”

Fin talked rapidly. He didn’t know if she would fully understand what he said, but he remembered that this wasn’t the time or place to be casually talking. This side of the barn was fine, but there was the possibility that the Beasts were lurking in the shadows, drawing closer to the other side. Though he couldn’t hear the creaking, a sound that he had become too familiar with……

They won’t come tonight.”

Leena said so casually that it seemed like she personally knew them. Fin was startled and stared at the girl in wonderment.

“How do you know?”

She saw his surprise and was surprised herself that he didn’t know that.

“I mean, it’s so bright out. From what I can see, they aren’t nearby….besides, there’s nothing else calling them over here. Humans living here, bright fire, or human desire.”

“But now there’s me, my family, and a comrade.”

“Yes. But, since the powers of Master Audia and Master Neena are hiding you, they won’t know. Besides, you aren’t planning on staying here for long, right?”

“Well, that’s true, but…..”

“It’s alright. They won’t come. If you’re worried, I’ll stay here until dawn. You can rest easy.”

Lenna softly touched Fin’s forehead with her hand. Suddenly, he was overcome with an overpowering sleepiness and staggered.

“No, for such a reason….”

“It’s alright. Rest. I will be watching.”

Her gentle whisper surrounded his consciousness. The suspicion that she was definitely a magical creature that deceived him popped in his head, but he also sensed an instinctive security somewhere deep in his consciousness.

Leena held Fin, who had collapsed, and gently laid him down. Although he was laid on the ground, he felt neither the firmness nor chill of it. It was like the feeling when he was a child, lying down and looking at the sky as he imagined how soft and good it would feel to ride on top of the clouds.

Fin vaguely sensed that his head rested on Leena’s lap right before he fell asleep, deep in the dreams of his happy past.

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